More than a year after the start of the “Arab Spring”, it is possible to draw up a provisional balance sheet. Since January last year, popular rebellions have deposed a number of hated dictators across the region. It began with popular rebellions in Egypt and Tunisia, which spread to Yemen and Bahrain and through to the conflicts in Libya and Syria. All of these rebellions, to varying degrees, reflected the emergence of powerful mass movements causing concern for imperialism and its regional allies — principally Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
On February 14, hundreds of Aboriginal people, many young ones, and non-Aboriginal people gathered at the fence where 17-year-old TJ Hickey was fatally wounded in Waterloo in February 2004. A police vehicle driven by a Redfern officer rammed TJ’s bike. He was impaled on the fence and died in hospital the next day. There has been a corrupt coronial inquest, and a cover-up by the NSW government and Redfern police, and continuous protests. But eight years later there is still no justice for the young Aboriginal man and his family.
Despite the crushing victory of incumbent Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in the October 23 Argentine presidential elections, the campaign and results also demonstrated that an important social and political left alternative continues to exist. The unpredictable consequences of the global economic crisis and the reaction by Cristina’s mixed social base to future policy decisions may prove important challenges to her new government.
On September 30, 2001, in the midst of one of the worst economic crises in Argentine history, the owners of the Zanon ceramic factory announced plans to switch off the furnaces. In response, union delegates occupied the plant in the southern province of Neuquen. The next day, workers arrived to join the occupation ― frustrating plans to sell off the machinery.
After the overthrow of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak in February, a new chapter in Egyptian history is being written and its authors are the people themselves. Anything could happen and everything is up for grabs given the profound political, social and economic crisis in which Egypt's neoliberal system finds itself in. See also: Cairo eyewitness: Fresh protests demand real change
In June, four Australian set sail as part of the second Freedom Flotilla to Gaza with the aim of highlighting the suffering of its people at the hands of Israel’s illegal blockade. The flotilla, involving a dozen boats with hundreds of activists from more than 50 countries, aims to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian territory. The convoy coincides with the deep process of revolt occurring across the Arab world — against regimes that often collaborate with Israel.
“What changed in Palestine between December and April that made you change your mind?” yelled someone in the crowd, as the April 19 Marrickville Council meeting voted to overturn its previously stated support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid Israel. Despite many others asking similar questions, none of the councillors that had voted in favour for the December 14 motion answered this simple question.
Twenty-three-year-old Mariano Ferreira, a Workers Party (PO) activist, was shot dead in Buenos Aires on October 8 when a mob violently attacked protesting railway workers. The protesters, all of them labour hire workers, were demanding their reinstatement after being sacked. The attack was similar those against other workers in comparable circumstances who have demanded rights denied by the bosses. Often the bosses’ have acted with local union support.
Months out from the September national elections, the eyes of football-crazy Brazil have been focused on the World Cup. Discussions have centred on the performance (or lack thereof) of the men in the national football team. But it is three women who have been making the biggest impact on politics — especially on the left.
A recent attempt to forge greater unity among militant union sectors in Brazil has imploded. The Working Class Congress (Conclat) was held in Sao Paulo on June 5-6 to try and bring together various radical union currents. The key forces behind the congress were Conlutas and Intersindical, both formed in opposition to the main union confederation, the Unified Workers’ Confederation (CUT). The CUT unites approximately 60 million formal or informal workers out of a total population of 200 million, making it the biggest workers confederation in the continent.
Mamdouh Habib, illegally detained in Guantanamo Bay and then cleared of all terror charges has, since returning to Australia in 2005, faced systematic harassment from security agencies and the NSW Police.
The Goulburn Nine were arrested in November 2005 in Sydney, as were the Barwon 13 in Melbourne. A big deal was made about them being the first local terrorist groups in Australia to face trial under the draconian new “anti-terror” laws.
The Canterbury Bankstown Peace Group (CBPG) is organising a speak-out at Paul Keating Park, Bankstown, on October 18 to demand respect for human rights. Mamdouh Habib, a member of CBPG, is still fighting for the Rudd government to investigate the
With the July 16 vote against Cristina Fernandez de Kirchners proposed tax increases on agricultural exports in the Senate, following the biggest social and political confrontation since the 2001 uprising the overthrew several presidents in one week, the right has scored a clear victory.
A recent move by the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to implement a system of variable taxes on agricultural exports has opened up a crisis that has lasted more than 100 days.
Where in the world could a jury find in favour of someone, only to have a judge deliver a decision opposite to the jury’s finding? Well, this has happened in NSW and the victim is Mamdouh Habib, best known for being imprisoned by the US military without charges at its Guantanamo Bay naval base, before being released and flown home to Australia in January 2005.